Bank of Ireland chief quits as profits plunge

BANK of Ireland governor Richard Burrows announced his resignation yesterday, after the bank reported a 96 per cent plunge in full year net profit due to restructuring and impairment loan charges.<br /><br />Net profit for the year ending March 31 fell to&nbsp;&euro;59m (&pound;52m) from&nbsp;&euro;1.69bn a year ago, beating forecasts but reflecting the bank&rsquo;s exposure to Ireland&rsquo;s faltering economy and ailing property market.<br /><br />Burrows apologised for the bank&rsquo;s poor performance, but also surprised the markets by announcing that the bank will buy back up to &euro;1.4bn in its international debt obligations if bond-holders can agree on a reasonable price.<br /><br />&ldquo;Rather than having to buy back the bonds at par in a few years it makes huge sense for them to buy them back at 50 cents and below. We think Allied will be next,&rdquo; said one Dublin-based trader.<br /><br />Bank of Ireland is the latest lender to take advantage of deeply discounted secondary market prices to improve its capital position.<br /><br />Shares in the lender soared 23 per cent on the better-than-expected results.